Chelsea missed a golden chance to close the gap on the leaders as Fernando Torres’ Premier League drought goes on. The Spain striker has not scored in the league since he netted against Swansea on September 24 and Norwich stopper John Ruddy played a blinder to ensure his nightmare run continues. Paul Lambert’s side kept their first clean sheet of the season to stop Chelsea from making up ground on Man City, United and Spurs, who all play today.
“Torres tried really hard and his movement was sharp. He isn’t getting the goals he wants but he is playing a major part in our performances” – Andre Villas-Boas
It was for the first time in Premier League history there was not a single foul committed in the opening 45 minutes as referee Mark Clattenburg enjoyed of his easiest days at the office ever. The whistler was eventually called into action just 60 seconds into the restart to penalise Norwich striker Steve Morison after a foul on Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles, in what was one of the most noteworthy incidents of a dull clash at Carrow Road.
The Canaries, though, created the first opening on seven minutes as Wales striker Steve Morison got away down the right and fed Anthony Pilkington, whose shot was parried by Petr Cech before Morison’s follow-up was blocked by Ramires. Norwich carved Chelsea apart again on 10 minutes when Morison slipped a ball inside for Holt, who slide past David Luiz before dragging a low shot just wide from the edge of the area. The hosts remained dangerous on the counter, with the lively Pilkington curling an effort into the area which was headed clear before Morison smashed a long, cross-field ball from Holt into the side netting as the rain lashed down at Carrow Road. Minutes after, Torres collected the ball on the edge of the Norwich area and turned Zak Whitbread before stabbing a shot with the outside of his boot towards the bottom left corner, which Ruddy turned away at full stretch. There was a stoppage when Frank Lampard needed treatment for a calf injury. The England midfielder eventually was helped off and replaced by Florent Malouda on 36th minutes just after Bradley Johnson’s deflected effort had almost wrong-footed Cech. Ruddy was out to make a brave take as Torres looked to connect with a right-wing cross into the Norwich six-yard box. It was end-to-end stuff as suddenly Holt got in space on the right and fired in an angled shot which Cech palmed away. Mata weaved into the Norwich penalty area in first-half stoppage time, only to then fire over the bar.
Blues striker Fernando Torres can’t buy a goal for love nor money at the moment after yet another insipid display that means he has now not found the back of the net since the Blues 5-0 thrashing of Genk in the Champions League. The Spaniard, once the world’s most feared marksmen, was presented with the best opportunity of the match in the second half, but, after controlling well in space just outside the six-yard area, the goal-shy forward inexplicably toe-poked the ball wide much to the disgust of boss Andre Villas-Boas. It came as no surprise when the misfiring £50million striker, who has netted just three Premier League goals in 31 games for Chelsea, was hauled off with 15 minutes to go in replace of Belgian teenager Romelu Lukaku. Not that the change brough about a change of fortune as the game finished 0:0. For Norwich, the thoroughly deserved result saw them pick up their first clean sheet, in this their 22nd game, of the season.
Torres has now failed to score in his last 11 Premier League games, a drought that is more than three months long. He is scampering around in the most expensive wilderness in football history. Chelsea had surprised some observers by leaving out new signing Gary Cahill, the England central defender. It seemed to give a spur to the much-criticised David Luiz, who played with style and strength to subdue Norwich dangerman Grant Holt. A concern for Villas-Boas was Frank Lampard suffering a calf injury that could keep out the England midfielder for a few weeks.
Booked : None!
Man of the match: John Ruddy
Match rating: 7.0/10.
Possession: Norwich 41% Chelsea 59%
Attempts (on target): Norwich 5 (3) Chelsea 19 (9)
Referee: M Clattenburg
- Frank Steers Chelsea to victory. Its Chelsea 1 Sunderland 0 (chelseanewsletter.wordpress.com)
- Morison caps Ruddy great performance (independent.co.uk)
- You: Chelsea FC vs. Norwich City: Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Player Grades (bleacherreport.com)